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Meet the cats that inspired Zirdeli Cats:

Snowflake, pictured to the right and below, was my first purebred Turkish Angora cat. She was born in 1989 and sent with her littermate brother to a new home. In 1993, saddened by the loss of our much loved family cat of 19 years, I went to the local humane society, where I found a very sad Snowflake after her human family divorced. Her brother was adopted the day after they arrived, but Snowflake was timid and scared. She likely missed her human and was reluctant to find a new one. After several weeks there, waiting for her previous owner to return, Snowflake came home with me. Initially we were sad together, but it didn't take long for us to cheer each other up and become fast, lifetime friends.

Because she was adopted from the humane society, I was unable to get a copy of her papers or her pedigree, so I was never able to find out where she was born.

There are two lessons to this story of Snowflake's early life.

One is that there are rescue groups for just about every breed of purebred cat out there, and either of the Turkish Angora purebred rescues, KitnHeaven or the Purebred Rescue and Relocation Society, would have been a wonderful place for Snowflake and her brother to go. To learn even more about Purebred Rescue (and maybe even adopt a rescued kitty!) visit Purebred Cat Breed Rescue.

Another lesson you can learn from Snowflake's story is that most reputable purebred cat (and dog) breeders include an agreement in the sales contract, stating that the buyer of the cat agrees to return the cat to the breeder in the event that the buyer can no longer care for the cat he or she has purchased. The cat's breeder would rather take the cat back than risk possible euthanasia at the hands of a community animal shelter or pound.

Snowflake was with me for just over 2 years when I adopted my first registered purebred cat, a Manx named Toby (see Toby's story below).

In October of 2002, the vet found a lump over Snowflake's right hip. The vet believed that the lump was an injection-related sarcoma (sometimes referred to as vaccine-associated sarcoma). This a very aggressive and historically un-treatable tumor that typically arises at the site of an injection, most commonly a vaccination.

By the time Snowflake's tumor was discovered, it was inoperable. She died on November 2, 2002, leaving me heartbroken and without a very special, loving, devoted pet and friend. She, and many other cats who suffer from an injection-related cancer, were the inspiration for VAS Awareness. VAS Awareness' mission is to prevent this aggressive cancer through public education. To learn much more about Vaccine/Injection related cancers, and the things that you need to know to help to prevent them, please visit

Three months after I adopted Snowflake, I found a tiny tortie tailless kitten. The vet called her a Manx, but without knowing where she came from, one would never know for sure if she was a purebred cat from a breeder. I named her Tory. Tory was sick when I found her - dehydrated, with worms and a prolapsed rectum. The vet fixed her up and she came home with me. Two years later, in 1995, she died as a result of lymphosarcoma. Tory was such a great and loving cat, that I went on a mission to find a Manx, which led me to Romanxx cattery not far from my home. And lucky for us! - there was a little tortie kitten for sale! I named her Red October, called her Toby, and brought her home.

I spoke with her breeder for some time about breeding and showing cats and was very intrigued with both. So I tucked all of that information under my hat, took my Toby-girl home and let her get acquainted with Snowflake.

Unlike the Turkish Angora, the Manx cat prefers to be nearer to the ground. They are not acrobats, but rather strut their tailless stuff around the house with a confidant swing of the hips. The Manx cat does not need to meow or pester you like a petulant child to get what she wants. Rather all she needs to do is to give you one look and her message is clear. Serve me or else....

My little Toby-girl is with us to this day. With her quiet meow and her loud purr, she is our introverted redhead. She prefers only people she knows well. But she is without question, the wise matriarch of the cats in the house, maintaining her understated authority with her own unique style!

Penny Pretty and Flurry
After losing Snowflake in November of 2002, I began my quest for another Turkish Angora. I was hopeful that I would be as fortunate as I was with Toby, and that I would find a Turkish Angora breeder close to home, but it wasn't quite so easy this time!

I discovered that the Turkish Angora is a rare breed, indeed. After much searching, I found a breeder over 400 miles from home - Zamaray cattery in West Virginia. A wonderful couple, they had two kittens available. A white kitten, like Snowflake and a tortie kitten - the same color as Toby. To make a long story short, I came home with both of them!

Penny, named for the copper color to her fur when she is in the sun, is the oldest of the littermates. She knows her name and answers when you call. She is our extroverted redhead and her adorable golden red "mustache" makes it so that you just can't take her TOO seriously! Unlike Toby, Penny meows with short and to the point squeaks when she comes to greet you! She will eagerly prance by to show you her gorgeous coat of fur, but under no circumstances is she fond of having that coat messed up! So you can pet her - for just a few strokes - but don't get carried away and don't even think about cuddling! This picture is of Penny as a kitten, soon after she arrived!

Flurry is white and has a much different personality from Penny. SHE believes that she is the cat in charge. Very outspoken, she is the mommy cat. The disciplinarian. The protector. The Princess. She has a love-hate relationship with Sherlock (below), provoking him to play one minute and letting him know she's the boss the next. When you don't feel well, she'll be there, curled up on your lap, making sure you're all right and helping you to feel better. When my dad was ill and confined to bed, she laid on the foot of his bed or in the doorway to his room to monitor all who entered. But a warning to those who she deems as unfriendly - look out! She won't hesitate to hiss at you and let you know that she doesn't trust you! She knows her name (I think) but since she's the princess, she often chooses to ignore it, occasionally responding instead to her nickname, "Beautiful", if she's in the mood! This is Flurry in between two sheets of painting paper we had down to protect the floor while we were painting the walls!

While admiring Platina Luna Russian Blue cats at a Roanoke, VA CFA cat show, I was talking with a Turkish Angora exhibitor from Sinend cattery. I told her the story of our long-lived, 19 year old "blue" (grey) cat (noted above in Snowflake's section), and mentioned how I would love to see a blue Turkish Angora. She told me about a couple who were in the process of closing their Turkish Angora cattery who had a 13 month old blue boy for sale. The end result was that I was truly blessed to adopt Sherlock, the only boy (albeit neutered) in the house.

Naturally, I took lots of pictures of my boy and one day, while at another cat show, a Turkish Angora breeder and exhibitor from Sadakat cattery studied the pictures for several minutes. She told me that she had seen Sherlock as a kitten and chosen to adopt his littermate brother. She looked at me, grinned, and said "I think I might have picked the wrong kitten - You really should try to show him".

So I did.... And the rest, they say.... is history....

From February of 2004 through April of 2005, Sherlock and I went to one to two cat shows a month. During that time, we made new friends, learned new things, and spent lots of time together. The end result was that Sherlock finished the season the Best Turkish Angora in Premiership (neutered/spayed cats) in CFA's Southern Region and 4th best in the National standings - an incredible honor for a first-time exhibitor and the cat who earned it!

There are no words to express my thanks to those who pointed me in his direction and encouraged us along the way. There is also no way to describe what a wonderful experience this was for us. Sherlock grew into a fun, friendly, gregarious, confident and playful boy, and I added to my already established love for the breed and enjoyment in showing.

Sherlock is retired these days, but seems to know he's special. His registered name is Zarif's Farewell to Folly, and we can assure you that FOLLY is something he NEVER said farewell to! Where Flurry claims the title of Princess, Sherlock is a mix of the Prince and the Court Jester. My father's nickname for him is "Mischief", and Folly is clearly his middle name! He is quite the entertainer, fond of people, tolerant of children, and devoted to his humans. He is a special boy. We are blessed to have him and we love him dearly.